RPI Hernando County
Most importantly, we’re relieved to report that we heard from our partners in Puerto Rico and everyone is safe. They are working to assess the damage done and recover from Hurricane Maria. We will continue to communicate with them as often as possible as we work on our projects here at home.
In September, I traveled west to implement the RPI at several new sites in Hernando County – an area we have not previously worked. I had all the tools, signs, nets, and monofilament tubes packed, my presentation was well-practiced, and the drills were charged. I woke up early, made it all the way over to Brooksville, was ready to meet our new partners at the UF/IFAS Hernando County Extension Office, and then, this happened.
I was about 20 miles away from the office so I called our partners to come to my rescue (thank you, Brittany)! We left my car on the side of I-75 and made our way to the patiently waiting FWC officers, Port Authority staff, County Waterway employees, Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel, and local community members.
Following the workshop, with the help of a few volunteers, we installed signs and monofilament recycling tubes at three of the five new locations (the last two were badly damaged in recent hurricanes and signage will be installed as soon as possible). I was quick to put the training attendees to work and we got all sites done in about an hour.
After installations, we returned to my car with Officer Sehl of FWC Law Enforcement. She blocked traffic with her official vehicle and we changed the tire so I could continue on my travels. She also – after several stern warnings – made sure I didn’t exceed 50 miles per hour on my spare.
Although, the day did not exactly go according to schedule, I was so grateful to see everyone work together – both to bring a new conservation program to their area, and to help a new friend stranded on the side of the highway. We are looking forward to working with everyone in Hernando County again soon – hopefully with fewer roadside emergencies next time!